Saturday, May 9, 2009

Denali - Caribou

Currently the Caribou are scattered throughout Denali.I have seen them as close as milepost 9, with more herds congregated down towards milepost 30. The above pictured bull with his beginning velvet spread was standing fairly close to the road, which has been rare occurrence.

Mostly what I see are groups of 4 to 18, moving and feeding in the river bottoms or valleys, like in the above images.

For those of you who do not know, Caribou are the only member of the deer family where both male and females grow antlers. Bulls have large and tall extending antlers and the cows have short skinny ones. The adult bulls shed their antlers in late October. Young bulls and non-pregnant cows do not shed their antlers until April. Pregnant females keep their antlers until the calves are born in late May or early June. To date, I have not seen any moose or caribou calves. The below image is of a bull with a radio telemetry collar.

Next post will be of some moose in velvet. I have some lynx and merlin photos ready to post as well.

Blue Skies.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Excellent info Ken. I did not know about the male and female having antlers. We do not have deer here only antelope. The difference being that they do not loose their horns in summer but have them year through. In most of them, only the male has horns but there are one or two like the Springbok, where the female has them too.

There is a National Geographics program On Denali on TV tonight which I want to watch. It will be interesting to watch knowing that you are there. :)

koand said...

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Twisted Fencepost said...

Nice shots, Ken!
I have not seen them in real life, but would like to.
You are lucky to be able to make this trip. Even if it is a working trip.

Bradley Myers said...

Good shots Ken, I hope you took plenty of hard drives along, with the way the trip has started already and months to go I think you will need them.

We seen few Caribou on our trip, but it was not the best time of the year for them and my wife kept reminding me that it was a family vacation, not a photography trip.

Keep them coming, Brad.

Tim Rucci said...

These animals look really interesting in light colored coats. I'm guessing it's a seasonal thing? You gotta be loving it, having such great photos opps every day.

T and S said...

Ken : Thank heavens for getting you that job at Denali. We are in for a treat of a lifetime. Keep them coming

Salty said...

Lovely animals Ken. The bulls are quite impressive when their antlers are grown.

Your Alaskan summer is getting off to a great start!

hector200 said...

Awesome photos.

gidje said...

Great shots. I especially like the lead in picture. The colors are great.

fishing guy said...

Ken: Nice shot of the Caribou.

Juan C. Aguero said...

Good document and excellent information!!

alex216 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.